It’s a time of transition at the Cortez planning and building department, as officials consider updating the city’s building codes, alongside other changes for builders.
The city has operated under the 2009 version of the International Building Code, which is updated every three years, since 2010. Planning and building director Sam Proffer wants to bring the city up to date this year. At the same time, an update to the land use code has been in the works for more than a year, and the city recently hired a new full-time code enforcement officer to implement rules that are often in flux.
Proffer gave a presentation to the Cortez City Council at its May 23 meeting on the building code, and why he wants to update it now. Contrary to the name, the International Building Code is a U.S.-only set of rules that can be adopted by local and state governments as they see fit. Cortez has used it for many years, and is the only government in Montezuma County to do so. Proffer said he didn’t push to update it when the 2012 version came out for several reasons.
“Number 1, it’s a lot of work; Number 2, it’s a lot of expense; Number 3, a lot of times there isn’t enough change on one cycle,” he said.
But he believes there are enough changes in the latest version of the code to warrant consideration. Several are designed to protect firefighters in case a building does go up in smoke, like a new structural requirement that could keep emergency personnel from falling through the floor if it loses integrity.
Proffer took office in 2010. This would be his first update in the seven years that he’s held the position.